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 Post subject: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 8:50 pm 
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[S1 Reviews] [S2 Reviews] [S3 Reviews] [S5 Reviews]

All reviews in this thread were posted with no knowledge of future events in the series and thus contain no spoilers. Other posts in this thread do not necessarily take this discretion. Consider yourself warned.

"Deep Down" [59]
"Ground State" [61]
"The House Always Wins" [40]
"Slouching Towards Bethlehem" [72]
"Supersymmetry" [90]
"Spin the Bottle" [90]

~~~

Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an Angel gets eviscerated by a shitheel feminist critic. "Deep Down" will be up sometime after Christmas. Happy holidays CT!!!

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[...]spends most of the episode literally cleaning up everyone else's trash.


Last edited by Boscalyn on Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:46 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:10 am 
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And so it begins

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 Post subject: Re: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 3:40 pm 
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The Apocalypse is Nowish.

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 Post subject: Re: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:11 pm 
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__









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"Deep D⬤wn" [4x01]


Writer: Steven S. DeKnight


Director: Terrence ⬤'Hara





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I suppose the obvious point of comparison is "Bargaining", an episode (or rather, pair of episodes) that similarly deals with the fallout of its lead's "death." "Bargaining" and its follow-up were a set of relentlessly dark episodes slightly marred by a set of goofy biker demons showing up in part 2. This episode has the goofy monsters that cheese up the dark (although this being Ángel, we have cholos vampiros instead of biking pigs), but the darkness is, uh...

Well. Let's look at Wesley.

Over the past three months, he's continued his tryst with Lilah, kept a woman chained up in his apartment, and searched for Angel's sunken... wait, what was that second one again? Like, gosh, I know no one cares about Justine, but even if we treat her like the non-person she is character-wise, can we talk about Wes leaving her bound and gagged in a closet for three months? Like, what the hell happened? I get that Wesley turned into a brooding antihero... but his anti-heroics come off as less John Constantine and more Jabba the Hutt. How the heck did this happen?

And while we're at it, why is he even bothering to find Angel? He certainly didn't seem to care at the end of last season. In the (redundant) rush to establish that Wesley is ends-over-means guy, the show forgot to establish what those ends were. I guess his objective is to re-establish the status quo as quickly as possible?

What else is in this episode? Ah, right... those ominous dream sequences. Angel has a buffet with his friends, which is a metaphor for his disconnect from the living. Angel meets Cordy on a beach and snaps her neck, which is a metaphor for the way Cordelia spent the latter half of Season 3 demoted to a love interest and then discarded. Angel and Connor fight on a beach, which is a metaphor for the episode's mandatory fight scene. Zzzzz. What's next?

Fred and Gunn are Connor's surrogate parents! They are out of hope and all their friends have abandoned them. This is actually kind of an interesting arrangement, which is promptly undone because god forbid you have Gunn and Fred doing anything interesting! But actually, even this isn't as effective as it could be. Consider the scene where a betrayed Fred repeatedly tasers Connor. This should be some shocking darkness-- Fred was never the sort of person to turn to violence-- but it doesn't quite register.

The problem here isn't confined to this episode, or even these past few episodes-- it goes much deeper than that. Deep down, Angel has always aspired to the darkness befitting a creature of the night... and time and time again, Angel has shown that its conception of darkness is essentially puerile, most quantitatively with its repeated, heavy(-handed) emphasis on drugs, and most qualitatively with the Beige Angel arc, which he mostly spent trolling evil lawyers and delivering Bat-Monologues.

The opening scene in this episode, with that richly colored banquet turning into a cool-hued nightmare hall, is supposed to signify a change from something earnest and familial into something twisted and dark. This could have been successful; just look at Orphan Black's third season premiere. (Take note of this special occasion: the first and last time I will call Orphan Black's third season a success!) But Angel doesn't have that mastery of tone that its parent show or even a second-tier genre show like Orphan Black has.

Actually, Orphan Black is an interesting case here because it's a solid piece of neo-noir. Angel fancies itself a noir, but there's a key difference here: in film noir, the darkness serves to accentuate, to create a contrast, a chiaroscuro. In contrast, Angel's darkness provides no contrast. It's an oscuroscuro.

At least "Deep Down" gets the setting right-- a murky void where everything is obscured beyond recognition, with no room for the characters to breathe? Now there's a metaphor I can get behind.

59/100

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[...]spends most of the episode literally cleaning up everyone else's trash.


Last edited by Boscalyn on Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:15 pm 
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Deep Down happens to be the only season premiere of Angel I really love, the rest range from fine to mediocre. This score probably doesn't bode well for the rest of the season...


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 Post subject: Re: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:27 pm 
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Nicely-written review, Bosc.

That said, it seems to me that you flat-out reject the premise of Batman, and given that ANGEL is clearly influenced in a number of regards by Batman, I'm not sure how this show could ever possibly appeal to you in the long-term. I know I'm oversimplifying, but yo, you mentioned Batman again in the review. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:34 pm 
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Dannflor wrote:
This score probably doesn't bode well for the rest of the season...

I'd say it bodes very well, actually. Given how often Bosc disagrees with the consensus on Angel, and given that she dislikes the premiere (one of the few legitimately popular S4 episodes), I predict she's going to love the heck out of this season as a whole.

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 Post subject: Re: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:47 pm 
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"Deep Down" and "Home" are probably the only legitimately great S4 episodes.

Dannflor wrote:
Deep Down happens to be the only season premiere of Angel I really love, the rest range from fine to mediocre. This score probably doesn't bode well for the rest of the season...


She gave "Eternity" a 100, and "Deep Down" a 59. Anything goes.

Boscalyn wrote:
In the (redundant) rush to establish that Wesley is ends-over-means guy, the show forgot to establish what those ends were. I guess his objective is to re-establish the status quo as quickly as possible?


Iguana's written some great stuff about this deep in the Angel forum.

Boscalyn wrote:
This episode has the goofy monsters that cheese up the dark (although this being Ángel, we have cholos vampiros instead of biking pigs), but the darkness is, uh...


This is an interesting point. I guess it's a matter of perspective, but for me, the darkness in this episode worked just fine. It makes sense, considering the back stretch of Season 3. The darkness in Season 6 and 7 of Buffy felt way more forced. If you simply aren't invested in the characters though, your point makes perfect sense, and I understand it.

Boscalyn wrote:
Cordelia spent the latter half of Season 3 demoted to a love interest and then discarded.


The worst is yet to come, Bosc. So much so that someone even wrote a long article titled "The Assassination of Cordelia Chase" Brace yourself. :evil: Where she goes this season legitimately pissed me off.

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 Post subject: Re: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:48 pm 
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Regarding Wesley i don't find it odd that he is trying to save Angel. Last season he is undoubtedly bitter but he is responsible for what happened to Connor. He didn't save Angel to become friends with him again, but rather a peace offering for stealing his son.

Then there is Justine the woman Wesley finds responsible for destroying his life so there is definitely revenge alongside his ends over means actions. He also has been an ends over means lad since Buffy as well, the dark place he is currently in is simply magnifying what was always there.


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 Post subject: Re: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:59 pm 
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Quote:
Cordelia spent the latter half of Season 3 demoted to a love interest and then discarded.

Really going into it right now would involve getting way spoilery, but I totally disagree with this comment. Taken as a whole, Cordelia actually has an extremely interesting character arc in S3-S4. It's not always executed well, but she is not being discarded or "assassinated." The writers are thinking very much about her character, and almost everything that happens to her in S3-S4 is actually perfectly in character, imo. Which brings me to:

Quote:
The worst is yet to come, Bosc. So much so that someone even wrote a long article titled "The Assassination of Cordelia Chase" Brace yourself. :evil: Where she goes this season legitimately pissed me off.

Yes, most people have that reaction. I can see where it comes from, but as I said I don't agree. I've read that article several times, and at the proper time I will tell you why I think it 100% wrong. Sorry for the "I'll tell you later" routine, but so it goes.


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 Post subject: Re: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:10 pm 
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I think that the only time I have ever considered Angel a noir was during "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?"


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 Post subject: Re: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:53 pm 
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J.C. wrote:
That said, it seems to me that you flat-out reject the premise of Batman, and given that ANGEL is clearly influenced in a number of regards by Batman, I'm not sure how this show could ever possibly appeal to you in the long-term. I know I'm oversimplifying, but yo, you mentioned Batman again in the review. :lol:

See, Batman is a bit weird... if you're going to do Batman, you either have to do 100% camp (Adam West) or stylized-but-serious (the animated series). Angel is content to snark occasionally but otherwise plays it straight? Buffy could get away with that because B-movies are campy... but you can't do campy noir. So it's very difficult to take the show seriously.

The other thing with Batman is that Batman himself is kind of a ridiculous character, but it's okay because his rogues' gallery is neat. Angel just doesn't have that.

Jeremy wrote:
Dannflor wrote:
This score probably doesn't bode well for the rest of the season...

I'd say it bodes very well, actually. Given how often Bosc disagrees with the consensus on Angel, and given that she dislikes the premiere (one of the few legitimately popular S4 episodes), I predict she's going to love the heck out of this season as a whole.

I liked "Ground State" more than "Deep Down." Still haven't decided where I stand on "The House Always Wins." It's not necessarily contrarianism-- I panned "She" and gave glowing reviews to "Epiphany," "Darla" and "Waiting in the Wings"-- but sometimes popular opinion on the show is confusing. "Provider" as the series nadir? Lol, no.

Samm wrote:
Regarding Wesley i don't find it odd that he is trying to save Angel. Last season he is undoubtedly bitter but he is responsible for what happened to Connor. He didn't save Angel to become friends with him again, but rather a peace offering for stealing his son.

Then there is Justine the woman Wesley finds responsible for destroying his life so there is definitely revenge alongside his ends over means actions. He also has been an ends over means lad since Buffy as well, the dark place he is currently in is simply magnifying what was always there.

I could maybe buy saving Angel as a peace offering.

I do not for a moment buy him chaining Justine up. Slitting her throat I would get. But ignoring that leaving a woman who has attempted to murder you locked up in your living quarters is... not pragmatic, to say the least... it's just cruelty for no reason. Wes can be cruel if it's in service of some greater goal. I'm honestly not sure the writers even realized how fucked up his thing with Justine was.

Jay wrote:
I think that the only time I have ever considered Angel a noir was during "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?"

Which is non-coincidentally the best episode of the series. (I feel confident saying this despite having two seasons to go... I guess "Not Fade Away" will give it competition.)

But, since Flame brought it up, I think "Eternity" is seriously noirish too, which is a big factor in why it's so excellent.

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Jeremy wrote:
[...]spends most of the episode literally cleaning up everyone else's trash.


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 Post subject: Re: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:54 pm 
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Oh, and all of you suck for not praising my formatting wizardry. Or that hilarious "oscuroscuro" pun. I'm totally using that in some other context.

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Jeremy wrote:
[...]spends most of the episode literally cleaning up everyone else's trash.


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 Post subject: Re: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:58 pm 
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Boscalyn wrote:
Jay wrote:
I think that the only time I have ever considered Angel a noir was during "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?"

Which is non-coincidentally the best episode of the series. (I feel confident saying this despite having two seasons to go... I guess "Not Fade Away" will give it competition.)

I think that no other episode had the particular direction or feel in the series that "Are You Now..." had, and based on your input/interpretations so far, I don't know that you'll rank "Not Fade Away" higher.


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 Post subject: Re: The Bosc Always Lyns [Bosc's Angel S4 Reviews]
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:15 am 
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Boscalyn wrote:
See, Batman is a bit weird... if you're going to do Batman, you either have to do 100% camp (Adam West) or stylized-but-serious (the animated series). Angel is content to snark occasionally but otherwise plays it straight? Buffy could get away with that because B-movies are campy... but you can't do campy noir. So it's very difficult to take the show seriously.

Angel isn't "campy" noir. It's just a noir-inspired series that features shades of comedy. And it's not alone in this regard. Veronica Mars is a noir series with comedy. Terriers is a noir series with comedy. In all these cases, the comedy works by contrasting the bleakness of the show's world, and making its characters feel more human.

And of course Batman has had stories that mix grimness with a dose of humor. The Burton movies. Most stories from the O'Neal/Adams era. The 2004 animated series. There are ways to play around with tone and make it work, particularly for a character as malleable as Batman.

Boscalyn wrote:
Oh, and all of you suck for not praising my formatting wizardry. Or that hilarious "oscuroscuro" pun. I'm totally using that in some other context.

I reread the "oscuroscuro" pun in Kelsey Grammer's voice, and you were right - totally hilarious. Thanks, Kelsey Grammer!

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